Myrmecophilous

Spelling Bee Funds Used for Audio Books at Austin Public Library

The funds raised by the Austin Chronicle Adult Spelling Bee were used to complete the collection of 2010 Audie Winners at APL. The “Audies” recognize distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment.

At least they’re promoting an understanding of irony, if not literacy.

Nabokov interview and Lolita reading

So, so awesome (in 5 chapters). Did I mention he reads lines from Lolita? (via.) Chapter One:

He also describes Freud as “crude” and “medieval.” He doesn’t want an “elderly gentleman from Vienna…with an umbrella…inflicting his views” upon him. Take that, Freud!

I read dead Russian authors volumes at a time

theres a bit of a train theme in mary

I have to admit, Nabokov’s Mary started a bit slow. I kept rolling back a chapter every week or so without ever pushing over the halfway hump. But I picked up two new books at a used book sale today (the oft-recommended One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love; I didn’t intend such a titular dichotomy, they just happened to be the first two books I laid eyes on), and I needed to finish the one before starting the others. I had no idea that over that halfway hump would be a fairly suspenseful downhill ride through a nostalgic first-love story, one that ends in an unexpected way. As enamored as I am with Nabokov’s dark and poignant character studies, I’m happy to move on to other, non-Russian authors for a while.

Nabokov’s last work will not be burned

eda460.jpgGood news? Probably not, if you’re Nabokov’s ghost:

Having kept the literary world in a state of suspense for years over whether he was prepared to carry out his long-standing threat to burn his father’s last novel, Dmitri Nabokov has finally announced that he is prepared to save it from destruction.

Vladimir Nabokov’s The Original of Laura will now not be thrown onto the flames, the 73-year-old has told Der Spiegel magazine, arguing that his father, the creator of Lolita and Pale Fire who died in 1977, would not want his son to suffer any more over his most tortuous dilemma.

[Previously discussed here.]

A story from Book People

It wouldn’t have been as funny if she had just punched her:

She’s standing there in her overpriced workout clothes–you know, the kind nobody wears to actually work out in, they just wear around town to make it look like they’re oh-so-health-conscious. She has one of those stupid little pink leather purses that should have a dog in it, and an armload of magazines about pilates and yoga; her hair is that expensive streaky blonde that’s all the rage in people trying to look young and hip. She’s making fake small talk with the adorable pierced-and-tattooed boy en flambe, and taking forever to decide what she wants, talking herself into and out of a piece of cake about five times.

The woman is now weighing the pros and cons of having skim milk versus two percent milk in her latte, and she says, “God, I don’t know, I just feel so, like, fat today. I feel like such a big fat cow.”

Then she turns to me, and she says, GET THIS, “How do you stand it every day?”

You really have to read the story for the retort. It’s pretty awesome.

Nabokov wanted his last work destroyed. Should it be?

For the love of pants, no!

Here is your chance to weigh in on one of the most troubling dilemmas in contemporary literary culture. I know I’m hopelessly conflicted about it. It’s the question of whether the last unpublished work of Vladimir Nabokov, which is now reposing unread in a Swiss bank vault, should be destroyed—as Nabokov explicitly requested before he died.It’s a decision that has fallen to his sole surviving heir (and translator), Dmitri Nabokov, now 73. Dmitri has been torn for years between his father’s unequivocal request and the demands of the literary world to view the final fragment of his father’s genius, a manuscript known as The Original of Laura. Should Dmitri defy his father’s wishes for the sake of “posterity”?